Saturday, 27 April 2013

Fat Woman and the merry band

Fat Woman had been shopping for fitness gear. Fat Woman likes shopping but purchasing exercise equipment frustrates her as everything seems over priced or under quality. Fat Woman's approach is to buy a reasonably priced item, preferably from eBay or Amazon so it will be delivered, and buy again if the first item is used so much it wears out. This has served Fat Woman well so far. Fat Woman's boxing gloves have had heavy use for nearly 18 months yet they are standing up very well considering  she paid just £15 for them. Personal Trainer likes brands, but Fat Woman prefers not to associate herself with Adidas or Puma or any other fitness brand. Fat Woman is damn sure that the aforementioned companies wouldn't want to be associated with fat women! Fat Woman argued the branding issue back and forth with Personal Trainer but thinks she made her point when he acknowledged that if you see someone in a brand new pair of Adidas gloves you think they walked into John Lewis and bought whatever was available because they are an ignorant newbie, but if you see someone in a pair of well worn no-name brand gloves you know less about them, you give them the benefit of the doubt.  Fat Woman has done similarly well with boxing pads and waterproof MP3 player. 

Fat Woman has bought inferior sporting goods from high street sporting stores too many times. Fat Woman's tennis racket that she bought from DW Fitness is considered dangerous by three coaches so far, who reckon Fat Woman was on the way to a serious vibration injury. So Fat Woman has given up on the high street. The only non-virtual place that Fat Woman gets exercise equipment now is Tesco. Fat Woman has a kettlebell, Swiss ball, swimming goggles, weight lifting gloves and arm band for her MP3 player at ridiculously cheap prices from the convenient corner shop. As Fat Woman says to her left wing anti-corporation chums: "It may be an evil, monolithic corporation, but it's so convenient." 

Fat Woman needed a resistance band. This was a recommendation from Personal Trainer as part of the process of fixing Fat Woman's back squat. Fat Woman has a tendency to sink one hip lower than the other and to let one of her knees wobble inwards. Personal Trainer said that working with a resistance band would help solve this problem. Fat Woman has never let Personal Trainer use a resistance band on her before as she was mentally scarred by the sight of Buddy holding one end whilst his client's ankle was tied to the other. Fat Woman said that Personal Trainer was never, ever going to be allowed to put her on a leash.

Fat Woman is a fatalist so she went away and ordered a resistance band from eBay. The only problem with the band when it arrived was that it just 80cm long. Fat Woman has not realised that resistance bands are sold in strips and that you must tie them yourself. Fat Woman had thought that an 80cm band would be an 80cm loop. Personal Trainer said that Fat Woman could use the 80cm length of bright green rubber material to tie her hair back. 

Fat Woman ordered three metres of resistance band. The band arrived and was taken to the gym. Personal Trainer was very keen to show Fat Woman how you can use a resistance band when lifting weights. Fat Woman watched Personal Trainer wind three metres of green ribbon around the barbell and stand on the ends whilst he lifted the weights. The band snapped and Personal Trainer didn't even notice. Personal Trainer felt bad about spoiling Fat Woman's band but Fat Woman pointed out there was still two metres left, and it had been cheap anyway. 

Fat Woman ended up with the resistance band around her left thigh whilst Personal Trainer held the band ends. Fat Woman is still a very squishy person, especially in the leg area, and found instead of lying flat in a nice, wide strip, the band rolled up into a cable, which cut in terribly. Fat Woman was put in mind of turning sausages into smaller ones by twisting them. It has been a long time since Fat Woman has had to say she was too fat for something, so long in fact that she didn't actually realise that was what she should have said. 

Under Personal Trainer's tutelage Fat Woman did weighted squats with the resistance bands pulling her left leg first inwards and then outwards. Fat Woman was left totally confused as to what was going on and just hopes that Personal Trainer was on top of things.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Fat Woman and the unbearable truth

Fat Woman was doing vertical rows with the 15kg bar. Fat Woman had assumed the position that she thinks of as "Tits up, tush out" but that Personal Trainer says is actually good form.

Fat Woman said that out of everything in the gym, with the exception of assisted stretching, vertical rows were her least favourite thing because she felt stupid doing them.

Personal Trainer said to Fat Woman that she looked stupid doing them.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Fat Woman and the gentle sigh

Fat Woman both hates and loves assisted stretching. Things Fat Woman doesn't like about assisted stretching include:

  • Lying on the floor
  • Having Personal Trainer holding parts of her
  • Having Personal Trainer holding parts of her whilst she is lying on the floor
  • Having to to be really careful where she looks because Personal Trainer wears awfully short shorts
  • The lack of dignity allowed by the activity
  • Being made to laugh whilst stretching because she is terrified that something important will snap.
  • The utter powerlessness of being face down on the floor in front of someone.
  • It's a really fine line between a nice stretch and a painful stretch.

The good things about assisted stretching is that it keeps several problems such as back ache from tight hamstrings and also knee adhesions at bay. Fat Woman is trying to become healthy, and stretching is a part of that so she gets on with it. It can sometimes feel quite good to be stretched. Not very often though.

Fat Woman had just been put through the most awesome progressive circuit that Personal Trainer had thought up and was feeling rather washed out. This was partly because of schedule conflicts; Fat Woman had trained with Personal Trainer the previous day. This had never happened before and Fat Woman had been very careful to take a day off between resistance training days. Fat Woman was surprised at how much her ability seemed to be lowered. Trying to swing a 20kg kettlebell was incredibly hard. So hard in fact that Personal Trainer switch in the pink 8kg kettlebell. Fat Woman asked if Personal Trainer was using a kettlebell to mock her but in fact the next set had different exercises.

When it came to stretching Fat Woman was at her most defenceless. Personal Trainer took great delight in making Fat Woman laugh whilst he was helping stretch her hamstrings. Fat Woman begged him yet again not to but Personal Trainer apparently couldn't help himself and kept on talking. When Personal Trainer tried to put Fat Woman's left leg behind her ear, Fat Woman made a noise that was a cross between a sigh and a squeak. Fat Woman tries not to make noise but she has to let Personal Trainer know when to stop pushing her limbs. Personal Trainer likened the noise Fat Woman had made to the noises made by a lady with whom he had once been intimately acquainted.

Fat Woman assured Personal Trainer that all the noises she made when he had her on her back were genuine.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Fat Woman and the merry band

Fat Woman has had trouble with her knees since before she knew Personal Trainer. Fat Woman has been working with Personal Trainer and Osteopath to improve the condition of her knees and this month actually had a whole ten days without knee pain. Then Personal Trainer made Fat Woman spend a session on a treadmill and the knee pain returned. Osteopath said that it was probably the squats that made the left knee a little strained but that it was probably lunges with an over-extended range of motion that did for the right knee. Personal Trainer had made Fat Woman do lots of lunges just that previous week but Fat Woman was a little perturbed about the news that squatting was a possible cause of injury, or as Osteopath pointed out, strain. Fat Woman appreciates there is probably a technical difference between a strain and an injury, but all she knows is that they both hurt. 

Osteopath showed Fat Woman a new variation on the squat. This involves pointing the knees outwards so the pressure falls slightly differently. Personal Trainer was deeply unimpressed with this technique. Despite being incredibly original and inventive in his work Personal Trainer is deeply conservative over some core moves. Personal Trainer put on the I-don't-like-this face and as Fat Woman could tell he was deep into calorie deficit she chose not to push the point. There are times when Fat Woman wishes Personal Trainer would just eat a biscuit. Apparently it is imperative that Personal Trainer has decent looking abs for his holiday in September. Fat Woman is not looking forward to Personal Trainer being under-fed for the next three months. 

\One thing that Personal Trainer and Osteopath do agree on is that Fat Woman could do with strengthening her VMO (vastus medialis obliquus). Personal Trainer suggested it was time to do some work with a resistance band. Fat Woman has had a fear of resistance bands since they day she came across a client of Buddy's who look as though Buddy had tied her with a leash. A big, green silicone leash, but still a leash. Or possible a shackle. Fat Woman had told Personal Trainer that whilst she was willing to accept the utter humiliation of bag pushing and the boredom of the treadmill and even respond to the same hand signals he uses on his dog, he was not putting her on a leash. 

As- Fat Woman is willing to do anything to keep her knees in reasonable condition she ended up agreeing to order a resistance band. Personal Trainer said the range of movement she would need would be less than a metre. So Fat Woman went to eBay and ordered 80cm of resistance band. 

When the resistance band arrived it turned out that Personal Trainer actually meant that Fat Woman would need a loop, not a single length. By the time Personal Trainer had knotted the two ends of the band together and handed it back to Fat Woman it was the size of an Alice band. Fat Woman wears a black elastane Alice band in the gym but thinks green rubber would be a little odd even for her. Wearing green rubber is probably a secret signal for adults of very unusual and NSFW interests. 

Monday, 8 April 2013

Fat Woman and the gentle criticism

Fat Woman is reasonably good at taking criticism. Fat Woman makes a big effort not to get defensive or JADE (Justify, Argue, Defend or Explain) and to listen to what people have to say. Fat Woman even says "Thank you for saying that" afterwards,  even when she would actually like to use her quick wit, superior word skills and downright nasty streak to turn the person in front of her into a little teeny pile of weeping flesh lumps. Fat Woman believes that with great power comes great responsibility and makes an effort not leave a trail of bite sized former critics behind her.

Fat Woman has tried so many sports over the last year that she has become quite good at taking sports coaching. Fat Woman has been coached at golf, shooting, tennis, weight lifting, boxing, tai chi, archery, escrima, netball, running and of course swimming. Fat Woman leaves her ego at the door when she is learning something and actually welcomes criticism. It is sometimes very hard for teachers to accept that Fat Woman really means it when she says that she actively welcomes correction. Fat Woman understand this, but having had so much coaching she can spot the adjust-one-thing-at-a-time technique. That is fine, but Fat Woman learns quite well by being told she got something wrong. This doesn't apply so much to first learning how to do something, but rather to remembering to do something that you have previously demonstrated you can do. For example. Fat Woman knows perfectly well that when swinging a golf club she should look at the ball until after she has hit it, but sometimes she forgets or simply doesn't think to do that. Fat Woman also knows that when boxing she should have her hands up to protect her head, and that if she forgets Personal Trainer will smack her on the side of the head to remind her. Fat Woman wonders if Personal Trainer should smack her a bit harder because really it's an irritation now rather than a deterrent. Certainly when Cal who teachers Fat Woman escrima grabbed the end of her stick and twisted it to show her that she was leaving too much space under her hand Fat Woman learned the lesson painfully and rapidly.

Fat Woman might be good at taking criticism but Personal Trainer is not always the best at giving criticism. Sometimes Personal Trainer is very gentle with Fat Woman's efforts, encouraging her to make slight adjustments as she gets better at the technique. When Personal Trainer does this Fat Woman feels she is in a supportive learning environment. On other occasions Personal Trainer will use his stern voice and tell Fat Woman off because she is not doing something that she should really know how to do such as turning her hand when she throws a punch. And on a rare occasion like today Personal Trainer will stand next to Fat Woman when she is doing lateral arm raises with dumbbells and make clucking noises because Fat Woman is not holding her arms straight enough and apparently looks like a chicken laying an egg.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Fat Woman and the silent treatment

Fat Woman started the session by warning Personal Trainer not to torture her. This was because Fat Woman had been having inexplicable mood swings all morning and hadn't yet isolated the reason. This meant that Fat Woman might react in an out-of-proportion way to something she would normally let slide. Fat Woman has a nasty, vicious streak that she does her best to keep under control but that unfortunately comes out when she is feeling threatened. Personal Trainer once provoked Fat Woman so much that she hit him around the ear with a towel. Personal Trainer made a big fuss at the time, but wasn't actually that bothered being the sort of tough fellow who regularly has other men trying to tear his ears off in the rugby scrum. Fat Woman was extremely bothered that she had been pushed to the point where she hit out at someone. The fact that Fat Woman actually clobbered Personal Trainer had more to do with the fact that she wasn't actually aiming at him. Fat Woman has always said you're safest if she's trying to hit you. Personal Trainer learned that if you have a 300lb+ fat woman who wants you to pass her something so she doesn't break the hellacious wall squat you have her in after 50 minutes of intense work you had better hand whatever it is over, pronto.

Personal Trainer is a cheeky young man who delights in mocking Fat Woman. Fat Woman doesn't usually mind this and gives as good as she gets whilst doing her best to avoid hurting the sensitive youngster's finer feelings. Personal Trainer has developed a very clever way of mocking Fat Woman's boxing efforts with the pads, starting to pad very, very lightly until Fat Woman gets exasperated and hammers back at him. When Fat Woman told Personal Trainer that he wasn't to torture her that day, Personal Trainer started to expound on how torture was good, we like torture. Fat Woman simply raised her eyebrows but when a Random PT was passing by Personal Trainer tried to draw him into the conversation, asking him if he didn't agree that torture was good, that they liked torture. Random PT would not be drawn, saying that he didn't know about that. Personal Trainer kept on, so Fat Woman turned to Random PT and with a sweet smile asked him to remind her  what slots he had available for training.

Personal Trainer did not think this was funny. Random PT laughed in an embarrassed way like he had just been dragged into a domestic. Fat Woman felt slightly bad about the look on Personal Trainer's face but believes that we all have to learn that our actions have consequences and, after all, it wasn't like he hadn't been warned.

Personal Trainer suggested that perhaps they just shouldn't talk and instead have a completely silent session. Fat Woman thought this was a splendid idea as her previous session had definitely had too much chatting from both of them and not quite enough work from her.

Fat Woman and Personal Trainer spent the next hour working in silence. Fat Woman found the lack of chatter a great bonus. Recovery time was speeded up as Fat Woman could control her breathing instead of talking. Personal Trainer and Fat Woman have been working together for so long now that they are very in tune and need to say very little anyway. Sparky gave them no more than a passing puzzled look at the lack of banter but the sight of Fat Woman and Personal Trainer in the boxing ring doing silent pad work attracted a considerable amount of attention. Fat Woman noticed people actually watching and discussing her and Personal Trainer as they worked. Silent pad work has long been Fat Woman's party piece though so she concentrated on putting on a good show, or rather, working hard.

Fat Woman and Personal Trainer got through the rest of training, assisted stretching and arranged to meet outside in three minutes, all without speaking. Fat Woman is worrying what it looks like to the gym staff when she walks into reception, casts a look at Personal Trainer and without a word he gets up and follows her outside, then neither of them come back for hours. Fat Woman would like everyone to know that she was handing over the cake Personal Trainer had commissioned for his mother's birthday and afterwards they went their separate ways.

Fat Woman likes the idea of "Silent Fridays" for training. "Mute Mondays" and "Wordless Wednesdays" also have some appeal. Fat Woman will do almost anything if it helps her smash her way out of her plateau.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Fat Woman and the infinite capacity for evil

Fat Woman often tells Thin Husband that there is no morality attached to food. Nothing makes steam come out of Fat Woman's ears like someone saying how good they were because they ate this or didn't eat that. Fat Woman finds such people boring, self-involved and often on the verge of an eating disorder. Fat Woman wants to tell these people how good she is because ate the whole cake and didn't bring any to tempt them. That is on a good day. On a bad day Fat Woman wants to tell them that if they want to be considered good by anything than the most image-obsessed individual they should go out and do some charity work and do something that will benefit the world. Fat Woman has raised £500 for good causes in the last month through pushing cake (Take The Cake initiative for the Classic FM Foundation, supporting music therapy) and peddling chocolate to children (Easter Egg hunt in aid of local country park).

Fat Woman was overjoyed when she found that the great CS Lewis had not only recognised this annoying trait but in his Screwtape Letters had explained why it is an actual sin.
The contemptuous way in which you spoke of gluttony as a means of catching souls, in your last letter, only shows your ignorance. One of the great, achievements of the last hundred years has been to deaden the human conscience on that subject, so that by now you will hardly find a sermon preached or a conscience troubled about it in the whole length and breadth of Europe. This has largely been effected by concentrating all our efforts on gluttony of Delicacy, not gluttony of Excess. Your patient's mother, as I learn from the dossier and you might have learned from Glubose, is a good example. She would be astonished—one day, I hope, will be—to learn that her whole life is enslaved to this kind of sensuality, which is quite concealed from her by the fact that the quantities involved are small. But what do quantities matter, provided we can use a human belly and palate to produce querulousness, impatience, uncharitableness, and self-concern? Glubose has this old woman well in hand. She is a positive terror to hostesses and servants. She is always turning from what has been offered her to say with a demure little sign and a smile "Oh please, please...all I want is a cup of tea, weak but not too weak, and the teenies weeniest bit of really crisp toast". You see? Because what she wants is smaller and less costly than what has been set before her, she never recognises as gluttony her determination to get what she wants, however troublesome it may be to others. At the very moment of indulging her appetite she believes that she is practising temperance. In a crowded restaurant she gives a little scream at the plate which some overworked waitress has set before her and says, "Oh, that's far, far too much! Take it away and bring me about a quarter of it". If challenged, she would say she was doing this to avoid waste; in reality she does it because the particular shade of delicacy to which we have enslaved her is offended by the sight of more food than she happens to want. The real value of the quiet, unobtrusive work which Glubose has been doing for years on this old woman can be gauged by the way in which her belly now dominates her whole life.
Fat Woman has had far too many of such people in her life, nearly all of them women. There are many who indulge in the gluttony of Delicacy in the fitness industry, although they are inclined to brand it "healthy". Fat Woman doesn't care what other people get up to but really hates the way some people like to use "healthy" as a yardstick to beat you with. Fat Woman is firmly convinced that "healthy food"  is not an absolute, but is a sliding scale.

Fat Woman's primary healthy food metric is her calorie count. Losing weight is a big health concern for Fat Woman and controlling her calorie consumption is the best way for her to do this. Fat Woman will go so far as to say that calorie control is the only way that dieting has ever brought about permanent weight loss for her. Fat Woman likes the freedom of the calorie controlled diet. The nutrition professor who lost 27lb eating junk food proved this point to Fat Woman's satisfaction. So long as Fat Woman eats fewer calories than she burns she knows she will lose weight. However, calorie count is only the first and most important target that Fat Woman uses. Fat Woman then concentrates on having a nutritionally balanced diet, with a certain of protein in each meal and a ratio of carbs and fats, with as much fibre as possible and only a little sugar. Fat Woman does this because it allows her to enjoy her food and helps her to feel full and well. The nutritional balance is Fat Woman's second target.

Fat Woman's third target is the more generic 'healthy eating', that is to say Fat Woman likes to eat either unprocessed food or food such as bread that she could make herself. Fat Woman does eat some processed foods such as granola for breakfast and cereal bars and oatcakes for snacks, but there aren't that many of them in Fat Woman's diet.

The underlying consideration of all Fat Woman's diet efforts is that she doesn't want to develop disordered eating. Fat Woman has got past 35 without developing an eating disorder and isn't keen to get one. Fat Woman makes sure she is fuelled for her life and also that she is mindful about food, enjoying it as a part of life and a good thing. Food is so much more than fuel, and reconising this means Fat Woman can have a healthy relationship with it.

Once again Fat Woman has banged heads with Personal Trainer over food.

Fat Woman spent a day going on a five mile walk with a friend and two dogs. Fat Woman had her usual breakfast plus a protein shake (550 calories) plus a cereal bar on the way to the walk site (200 calories). Fat Woman then walked for two and a half hours, had a cup of tea and 110 calories of oat biscuits, then set off to get fish and chips - another thirty minutes walk to get there. Total calories by 2pm: 880. Fat Woman thought this would be enough to get her through to a late lunch. Immediately before lunch was ordered Fat Woman crashed. Fat Woman hardly ate any chips, but managed her fish in batter. It took a packet of fruit pastilles and some chocolate to make Fat Woman feel okay.

Fat Woman explained this to Personal Trainer because she was seeking advice on better fuelling for long exercise. Fat Woman hasn't ever walked five miles for fun and enjoyed every mile before. If Fat Woman had proper walking boots she would have been happy to go on a lot longer. This was a new experience for Fat Woman. The last time Fat Woman did such a long walk the final two miles were torturous for her. Fat Woman had thought she would be fuelled but obviously hadn't managed to get he nutrition right. Unfortunately Personal Trainer seemed to get stuck on Fat Woman's remedy for her crash, rather than her nutrition leading up to it so she could avoid it. Fat Woman found this obtuseness massively frustrating and backed off from the conversation because she hates it when Personal Trainer picks on a food choice that he considers less than perfect. There was absolutely no way Fat Woman was going to go to the seaside, walk five miles and not have fish and chips. Fat Woman considers that a large part of walking five miles is so you can have fish and chips afterwards without it being too many calories. Personal Trainer said he would rather see Fat Woman having some brown rice or a jacket potato. Fat Woman looked at Personal Trainer in amazement wondering what the hallelujah he thought she ate most of the time and also what the heffalump he thought she was going to eat after a five mile seaside walk. There is only one Pret a Manger in Norfolk and it isn't in a little seaside town where the pannin was introduced in 2011.

Fat Woman had brought Personal Trainer clotted cream fudge from the seaside. Personal Trainer was very pleased with the sugary, fatty goodies and will no doubt have eaten them by the time this blog is posted.


Having recovered from her long walk Fat Woman has been eating healthy food of which Personal Trainer approves. Fat Woman has Nairn's chocolate oat cakes at just 57 each. Fat Woman also has full fat Philadelphia soft cheese, also stamped with the Personal Trainer seal of approval, and fresh raspberries. Fat Woman has found that if you spread a chocolate oat cake with full fat Philadelphia cheese and ram some Tesco Finest raspberries on top you have a damn fine chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Fat Woman has an utter genius for subversion. Diet food becomes naughty, evil pudding Well, not evil in Fat Woman's world because Fat Woman does not attach morality to food. But it tastes so goooood! It must be bad for you. If one isn't bad for you then surely five must be.

Once again, Fat Woman has proved that food itself is not inherently evil, it's what you do with it that counts. And what Fat Woman did with it was, of course, eat it.